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The adventure below is the latest in a series sharing my quest to explore Pennsylvania by visiting each of the sixty-seven county seats and eating a hot dog while in town.

The last stop on my Endless Mountains tour was Susquehanna County Seat, Montrose approximately twelve miles from the New York border. By this time in mid afternoon the temperature which had started the day in single digits was being affected by a bitter cold wind. Who decided to make this trip on this day?

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Speaking of traveling I discovered that Montrose and Susquehanna County were centers for the Underground Railroad in the nineteenth century. In an article entitled Slave Sanctuary by William C. Kashatus I found a glimpse of the struggle over slavery that took place in the county in the mid 1800’s. The slavery question created a huge divide in our Country (note: The Civil War) and Susquehanna County was not different. Kashatus writes, “Susquehanna County was one of the main stops on the underground railway. Although this is not completely backed up by fact, there are many pointers saying this is true. These pointers say Montrose was the main hub. Here slaves would take refuge in the homes of citizens… on their way to Binghamton, New York. The earliest anti-slavery organization was the Susquehanna Colonization Society, established on Feb. 25, 1834 at the Montrose Court House. Hoping to avoid racial tensions over labor competition and residential patterns, the Colonization society promoted the resettlement of freed slaves in Africa… A more progressive organization was the Susquehanna Anti-Slavery Society, founded on April 18, 1836. Unlike the Colonization Society, the Anti-Slavery Society supported the immediate abolition of slavery ‘through moral suasion, debate and the dissemination of the anti-slavery message through the written word.’ (Yes, people talked like that in 1836.)

In the 1840s, abolitionist activities in Susquehanna took a decidedly radical turn. Some abolitionist were no longer content to limit their involvement to lectures and debates. Instead, they turned their attention to aiding escaping slaves on the Underground Railroad.

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I don’t know what the escaping human beings  in the nineteenth century did when they arrived in Montrose but I turned my attention to Joycie’s Cafe which is within sight of the Courthouse. I inserted two nickels into the parking meter. I mention this because that gave me 48 minutes of parking. I believe that is a pretty good deal. Sadly, Joycie’s Cafe did not serve hot dogs. For the second time today someone asked, “Aren’t hot dogs a summer food?” But, the gal at Joycie’s suggested I try the HO Mart on the next block. “Sometimes they have hot dogs in the corner.” she suggested.

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Sure enough after a brief hike in the chill wind I found hot dogs on the grill (two kinds) in the corner at the HO Mart convenience store and gas station.

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I didn’t think to ask Sue at HO Mart what the “HO” stood for. Sue seemed genuinely interested in my quest and wished me luck on the adventure. She also thought my choice of peanut covered M&Ms for dessert was a good choice.

I forged through the freezing wind back to the car wondering if Elsa was building a new ice castle in Susquehanna County! Arriving at my car before I was FROZEN I settled in safe from the wind and devoured the HO Mart hot dog and M&Ms before beginning my return trip out of the Endless Mountains toward home.

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See you next time.

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